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American entrepreneur Jeff Bezos is the founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com. In 2013, he purchased The Washington Post.
Jeff Bezos the Trekkie (2:12)
Jeff Bezos Starts Amazon (2:37)
Jeff Bezos - Full Biography (41:17)
Steve Jobs - Mini Biography (3:39)
When "Star Trek" first came out in the 1970's Jeff Bezos became an early and avid Trekkie.
After reading a study in 1994 that stated the internet was growing at a rate of 2,300% per year, Jeff Bezos decided to capitalize on that growth with his e-commerce start up Amazon.
Business whiz Jeff Bezos started Amazon.com in the garage of his rented house with start-up money he borrowed from his parents.
Steve Jobs met Steve Wozniak while in high school and in 1976, they started Apple Computers. Jobs oversaw the development of revolutionary products like the iPhone and iPad.
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While many dot.coms of the early '90s went bust, Amazon flourished with yearly sales that jumped from $510,000 in 1995 to over $17 billion in 2011.
In 2007, Amazon.com released the Kindle, a handheld digital book reader that allows users to buy, download, read and store their book selections. That same year, Bezos also set his sights far, far, away, announcing his investment in Blue Origin,
a Seattle-based aerospace company that is developing technologies to offer space travel to paying customers.
Bezos then moved Amazon into the tablet marketplace with the unveiling of the Kindle Fire in 2011. The following September, he announced the new Kindle Fire HD, the company's next generation tablet designed to give Apple's iPad a run for its money. "We haven't built the best tablet at a certain price. We have built the best tablet at any price," Bezos said, according to ABC News.
Bezos made headlines worldwide on August 5, 2013, when he purchased The Washington Post and other publications affiliated with The Washington Post Co., which owns the paper and other entities, for $250 million cash. The deal marks the end of the four-generation reign over The Post Co. by the Graham family, including Donald E. Graham, the company's chairman and chief executive, and his niece, Post publisher Katharine Weymouth.
"The Post could have survived under the company's ownership and been profitable for the foreseeable future," Graham stated, in an effort to explain the transaction. "But we wanted to do more than survive. I'm not saying this guarantees success, but it gives us a much greater chance of success."
In a statement to Post employees on August 5, Bezos wrote: "The values of The Post do not need changing. ...There will, of course, be change at The Post over the coming years. That's essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. The internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about—government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports—and working backwards from there. I'm excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention."
In early December 2013, Bezos made headlines when he revealed a new, experimental initiative by Amazon, called "Amazon Prime Air," using drones—remote-controlled machines that can perform an array of human tasks—to provide delivery services to customers. According to Bezos, these drones are able to carry items weighing up to 5 pounds, and are capable of traveling within a 10-mile distance of the company's distribution center. He also stated that Prime Air could become a reality within as little as four or five years.
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